Veterinary technicians in Louisiana are a vital component of the state’s veterinary care sector, which is a rapidly expanding part of the economy.
In addition to the traditional demand for veterinary practices to treat private pets, the state also has a large farming and production animal sector, as well as a number of government agencies that require registered veterinary technicians. Because of this, the employment options for vet techs in Louisiana are extremely promising.
Becoming a Registered Vet Tech in Louisiana
Louisiana requires that any vet tech who wishes to practice in the state be registered by the Louisiana Board of Veterinary Medicine (LBVM). This organization requires the following items before it will allow a vet tech to become registered to practice in the state:
- Proof of graduation from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited veterinary technology program.
- Proof of successfully passing the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE).
- At least two letters attesting to the candidate’s moral and professional character, taken from the references he or she lists on the application form.
Veterinary Technician and Technologist Programs
Most vet tech programs are two-year programs, although part-time and distance-learning programs may take longer in order to accommodate the student’s schedule. In most cases, vet tech programs include the following subjects:
- Basic first aid and emergency care for animals.
- Treatment techniques for different animal breeds.
- How to assist the veterinarian during surgical procedures.
- How to take blood and other samples and prepare them for laboratory testing.
- Public Animal health.
- Pharmacology, especially as relating to administering drugs under the supervision of a veterinarian.
Students should ensure that their program is an AVMA accredited program in good standing. The AVMA ensures that any program it accredits maintains the highest professional standards. Most importantly, the LBVM will not accept classes from unaccredited programs.
Additionally, many vet tech programs offer part-time and distance learning courses. These courses can allow students who are currently working to complete the program without having to leave their current job. In addition, online classes can allow students with limited mobility to complete a large portion of the program on their own pace while working from home.
Passing the VTNE
The VTNE is a comprehensive exam that is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). The AAVSB regularly updates the test material to ensure that the exam covers all aspects of the veterinary technician’s duties.
In order to pass the VTNE, the candidate must score at least 425 on the test. While it is possible to retake the test, the candidate should only take the test when he or she is confident of passing it. In addition to having to pay the test fee every time the test is retaken, the AAVSB can require that the student show proof of progress before allowing them to retake the exam.
Once these two steps are completed and the application filled out with the required letters of recommendation, the individual can become a registered veterinary technician in Louisiana. At that point, the registered veterinary technician (RVT) can seek out employment in Louisiana, as well as identifying themselves as a RVT.
Registered Vet Techs and the LBVM
The LBVM requires vet techs to renew their registration every year. In addition to the renewal fee, the vet tech must also provide at least 10 hours of approved continuing education. Because the LBVM will determine what type of continuing education is acceptable, the vet tech should make certain to ensure that his or her continuing education units meet with the LBVM’s approval before the renewal deadline.
The Vet Tech Career
Louisiana has a number of excellent employment opportunities for vet techs. With a growing urban and rural veterinary care sector, vet techs can find a rewarding career treating the beloved companion animals of their fellow citizens. Whether as a part of a small clinic or a major veterinary hospital, the vet tech can expect to be well regarded by the public and his or her fellow workers alike.
In addition, there are a wide variety of government and business opportunities for registered vet techs, including production animal care and wildlife management. Finally, vet techs can also find employment in zoos, animal breeding businesses and research establishments.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has determined that veterinary technology is a rapidly expanding field, with excellent salary levels when compared to similar professions. By choosing to become a vet tech, whether as a newly graduated student or an older worker seeking to transition to a new field, the individual has entered a personally and professionally rewarding field.
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